DHSC press release: Online isolation notes launched - providing proof of coronavirus absence from work
People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.
As isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, this will reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.
For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.
People who need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note or an isolation note. More details on coronavirus and claiming benefits can be found here.
The notes can be accessed through the NHS website and NHS 111 online. After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user. If they don’t have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.
The isolation note service has been commissioned by NHSX and built by NHS Digital.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, recently said:
“It is absolutely vital we do everything we can to ease the burden on our healthcare professionals, allowing them to spend as much time as possible with those patients that need them most.
“Digital isolation notes will provide reassurance to those self-isolating and their employers while also reducing the pressure on our NHS, so they can continue doing all they can to protect the people of this country and save lives.”
The isolation note service can be accessed via https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/, as well as via the NHS app.
Notes for Editors
- The Chancellor announced during the Budget speech on 11 March that people advised to self-isolate because of coronavirus will be able to obtain an isolation note. This will prevent pressure on the NHS by removing the need to see a GP.
- Currently, when people are suffering from an illness or health condition, they can self-certify for seven days but from day eight they are required by many employers to obtain medical evidence. This is usually in the form of a fit note issued by a doctor, generally a GP, to support payments of statutory sick pay.
- Guidance for employers advises them to use discretion in requesting medical evidence, as current regulations are flexible, but employers could still ask for fit notes or some form of evidence.
- The isolation note service has been built by NHS Digital in collaboration with the Department for Work and Pensions, NHSX, and the Department of Health and Social Care.
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